Everything You Need to Know About Dental Implants
If you’re one of the 178 million Americans missing at least one tooth, you probably forget what it feels like to smile confidently and without hesitation.
Fortunately, your smile is within your control, even if you’re missing teeth. Dental implants have emerged as the Gold Standard in tooth replacement technology thanks to their durability, reliability, and natural appearance.
Don’t let your missing teeth stop you from pursuing that relationship or job promotion for another second. Here’s everything you need to know about using dental implants to restore your smile.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth that looks exactly like a real, natural tooth. It’s made of three individual pieces that fit together to replace your missing tooth: the screw, abutment, and crown.
- The implant itself is a titanium screw placed deep into your gum tissue. Over the span It fuses permanently with your jawbone over the span of about six months to replace missing tooth roots. This creates a sturdy base that supports the other parts of the implant.
- An abutment is placed on the implant to connect a custom-made crown with the implant.
- The crown is the part of the dental implant that you can see and feel in your mouth. It looks and functions exactly like a real tooth.
This system makes dental implants completely different from dentures or bridges. Each implant is designed to completely replace your lost tooth in the most realistic and natural way possible.
Best of all, dental implants can be adapted to almost any tooth loss situation. They can be used to replace one individual tooth, a few teeth, or your entire mouth if necessary!
By working with your dental implant specialist to evaluate the best solution for your oral needs, you can determine the best implant arrangement.
Am I a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
There’s not a single “perfect” type of dental implant patient, but all men and women who receive dental implants need to hit the following requirements.
If you have unhealthy gums and show signs of gum disease or periodontal disease, you may not qualify for the implant procedure. Your dentist may recommend comprehensive treatment plans like root scaling and planing or laser gum therapy to improve your gum health and make implants a viable option.
Sufficient Bone Density
The base of the dental implant is a small titanium rod that’s implanted into the jawbone. This titanium implant replaces the natural root of the tooth and attaches to the crown that’s visible along the gumline. Without enough bone density, the titanium implant won’t be adequately supported. If you don’t have enough bone density currently, you may have the option to undergo bone grafting to regrow enough bone for dental implants.
There are other health factors that could prevent you from getting implants. Heavy smokers, pregnant women, children, people with chronic diseases, and people taking steroids may not be candidates for implants. It’s possible for you to adjust your lifestyle habits in order to make dental implants an option as you pursue lasting oral health.
What are the Best Benefits of Dental Implants?
Dental implants are considered the Gold Standard in tooth replacement for a good reason: they transform lives. There are many benefits to using dental implants, including these three.
Implants Help You Eat and Talk
Tooth loss impacts your lifestyle in many ways, especially in your ability to eat and talk without complications. Even just one lost tooth can affect pronunciation and chewing. Implants can be used to replace single or multiple teeth so you don’t have to avoid your favorite foods or avoid talking in public.
Implants Complete Your Smile
The most obvious problem created by tooth loss is your incomplete smile. Whether you lose your front teeth or bottom molar, you will feel self-conscious smiling and talking to others. Fortunately, implants replace your missing teeth to create a full, whole smile once again. Since they look natural and realistic, nobody will even suspect that tooth loss was once a problem for you.
Implants Protect Healthy Bone
Replacing your missing teeth is important for more than aesthetic and functional reasons. Each tooth in your mouth plays an important role in stimulating and strengthening underlying bone. When you lose a tooth, you lose the ability to protect healthy bone in that area.
Dental implants are able to replace the tooth’s root system to continue stimulating the jawbone. They restore the support that the jawbone needs, stimulate further bone growth, and prevent future bone loss. This is the only way to prevent bone loss over time.
Preparing for Dental Implant Surgery
The dental implant surgery process includes multiple steps.
Before any oral surgery can begin, you sit down with your dentist for a comprehensive consultation and treatment planning session. Your dentist uses this appointment to take x-rays and impressions, carefully examine your mouth, and discuss your potential reconstruction options.
You may need pre-implant procedures such as extractions, gum disease treatment, or bone grafting in order to qualify for dental implants. These procedures must be performed before the next steps of the dental implant process can begin.
As soon as your mouth heals, your dental implant expert inserts the titanium implants into your jawbone. Thanks to anesthesia, you won’t feel any pain at all! The exact length of your procedure depends on the number of implants you receive.
Since your crowns can’t be fitted until the implants fuse with your jawbone, your dentist may recommend a temporary denture or bridge during your healing process. This eliminates the need to go without teeth while osseointegration occurs.
Implant surgery involves a strict recovery period. It’s critical to adhere to all of your dentist’s instructions during this time. Ignoring recovery guidelines may compromise your new implants or cause them to fail altogether. Over the next three to six months, osseointegration takes place. This is the process of jawbone fusing with each titanium implant.
Osseointegration is vital to implant success. Each titanium screw implanted into your gums replaces lost tooth roots. This provides a solid base for your new crowns and offers ongoing stimulation to the jawbone. Once osseointegration concludes, your dentist places your abutments and crowns to complete your smile makeover.
Overall, the dental implant procedure is often a team effort between you, your dentist, and your doctors. The healthier your mouth and body are before your implant procedure, the better the outcome!
I Want Dental Implants… Now What?
Not every dentist offers dental implant restoration. You need to find a specialist who knows exactly how to perform the dental implant procedure to give you the best results possible.
Dr. Mike Wygant and his team at Woodcreek Dental in Camarillo, CA specialize in dental implant restorations. Dr. Wygant completed a yearlong externship in implantology and holds a fellowship with the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, so you can trust him to use cutting edge techniques to deliver beautiful artistic implant dentistry!
Call (805) 482-6389 to schedule your consultation and take the first steps to a full, healthy smile.